Ambassador Kent’s Remarks at Department of Defense WMD Crime Scene Operations Course

December 4, 2023

Good morning to our Estonian and U.S. colleagues and to our visitors from the United States.

We’re very honored to have representatives from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s International Counterproliferation Program (DTRA’s ICP) back in Estonia to work with Estonian officials over the next two weeks.  The collaboration that was established during the first visit in May 2022 proved so successful we all agreed to a second, more comprehensive round.

In the wake of the attacks on the United States in September 2001, we worked to build an interagency capability to collect and analyze evidence from crime scenes related to weapons of mass destruction.

While the Federal Bureau of Investigation has the lead on these investigations and FBI agents conduct the full investigation, government agencies at all levels in the United States play an important role.  From local police providing site security, and local fire and HAZMAT crews ensuring site safety and dealing with any injuries, to FBI and national labs providing analysis of evidence collected.

DTRA’s ICP program now works with international partners to replicate this model with our friends and Allies, such as here in Estonia. The goal is twofold – to prevent proliferation attempts and disrupt proliferation networks by sharing expertise to improve training, equipment, and doctrine.

You as participants will learn about Chemical, Biological and Radiological WMD threat materials, and you will get experience using the various chemical and radiological detectors.  You will also get experience working in encapsulated suits using the SCBA-air tank respirators.

While some of the participants have already used these types of suits, you’ll gain more advanced technical training and be able to share your experience with your colleagues in the room.

Like in the United States, the approach will involve a range of agencies here in Estonia.  We have here a mixture of national police, detectives, public safety, emergency services, firefighters and prosecutors.

The goal here is to form relationships and increase understanding of each actor’s role in the process so that if the need ever arises, different Estonian agencies will be able work together smoothly and efficiently to investigate any incident.

And while Estonia thankfully has not encountered this type of WMD incident, unfortunately, no region is immune to such threats. There are examples of other partner countries using this training and equipment to respond to actual WMD incidents. Working together, we can each gain the confidence, and give our national leaders assurance, that we are trained and ready to deal with whatever WMD situation may arise.

We look forward to a very frank and open exchange of information and experiences over the next two weeks.  And while our colleagues from DTRA will have to return to the United States after the course finishes, they’ve assured me that you will always be able to contact them and the FBI to consult and collaborate on any particular WMD problem you may be working on.

Thanks you, and I wish you much success over the next two weeks.